Judge again rules Utah should pay $5M in polygamous trust costs

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A judge has rebuffed the Utah attorney general and affirmed a ruling ordering the state to pay more than $5 million to the court-appointed administrator of the FLDS sect’s property trust to cover outstanding debt.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports

In a decision made public Monday, 3rd District Court Judge Denise Lindberg denied an Attorney General’s Office motion to reconsider her Aug. 1 decision that the state should pay the expenses that have racked up since 2008, the last year the trust administrator, contractors or attorneys were fully paid.

“… there is no legitimate reason for the court to re-examine its prior judgment,” Lindberg wrote in her ruling, noting that the court had placed a lien on trust property requiring the United Effort Plan Trust to eventually repay whatever money the state kicks in.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff had argued that taxpayers should not be responsible, even temporarily, because the state acted in good faith in taking over the trust in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement by trustees of the Warren Jeffs-led sect.

Shurtleff’s office is exploring options to appeal the ruling to a higher court, said Assistant Attorney General Joni Jones. […]

Trust administrator Bruce Wisan says ongoing litigation and a lack of sufficient income threaten to overwhelm the trust administration without a cash infusion.

The United Effort Plan (UEP) property trust was created by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1942 on the concept of a “united order,” allowing followers to share in its assets.

But while the UEP was meant to be a good thing, ex-members claim cult leader Warren Jeffs used the trust to exert control over members of the sect.

Utah courts seized control of the trust in 2005 amid allegations by state attorneys that Jeffs and other faith leaders had mismanaged its assets.

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This post was last updated: Oct. 10, 2014